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Runners, I need your help!

March 7, 2012

So, I woke up early this morning to get my 5k training session in.  I think that also means hell froze over.  I upped the jogging intervals to 3 minutes, and man, I’m sore today.

Here’s my question: How do you stretch before and after a run?  I’ve never stretched before (apart from the trivial stretches in PE on the black top in junior high), and have no idea where to start.  Obviously, my “runs” aren’t very intense at this point, but I want to do everything I can to create good habits now, and hopefully get rid of a bit of the soreness.

Your advice is appreciated!

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2012 11:43 am

    Well…here are my 2 cents. I had a coach who trained me to stretch before ever run regardless of how far or much. I also had another coach who said a light jog is all the stretching you will ever need. I tend to agree with my first coach but start out with a light warmup jog and then stretch. Do a lot of the basic ones you remember in PE and then use a few that you find on http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-241-287–13442-0,00.html If you take an off day, it is a good idea to stretch those days as well. The more you stretch the better you will feel and ultimately it will make you faster.

    • thebassoflife permalink*
      March 7, 2012 11:52 am

      Thanks! I’ll definitely check out that link.

  2. Doug baker permalink
    March 7, 2012 12:04 pm

    From what I have read there is not to much of a reason for a pre run stretch. However, post run is incredibly important. Runners world has a ton of stretches that I have found helpful. But it is up to you to find what you like to do. Then again I am going on 4 weeks without even thinking of going to the gym, so I am going to say I probably don’t know any thing.

  3. March 7, 2012 12:07 pm

    I tend to think that stretching is highly overrated, or is done at the wrong time. With jogging, I agree with that second coach, it is enough stretching in itself. If you were to do sprints or something like that, that’s different. But even then, I would do some warm-up running before stretching. When I have run, I have done very limited stretching (if any) and I have yet to ever pull a muscle. Only in high school when the coach made us stretch did I really ever stretch.

    This article is a good analysis of stretching (http://faculty.washington.edu/crowther/Misc/RBC/stretch.shtml)… there are still obviously some benefits to it depending on the person and athletic activity, but it’s generally not to be considered as a protection against injuries.

    • thebassoflife permalink*
      March 7, 2012 1:29 pm

      I do start with a brisk 5 minute walk before starting the jogging intervals. That generally gets me warmed up enough to start running. It’s just the soreness afterward, not really trying to prevent injury. But, that probably just comes along with the territory, and the fact that my body isn’t used to moving in this way!

  4. March 7, 2012 12:33 pm

    I usually do some form of dynamic stretching before a run and leave the static (standstill) stretching until 15 mins after a workout. That way, it gives my body a chance to cool down. Works for me!

  5. Shannon permalink
    March 7, 2012 12:44 pm

    I agree with Running 4 my kids. I went from never running to training for a half marathon and found that my best friend was yoga. It helped me stretch for my runs AND it taught me how to breathe. During the half, I had an asthma attack at mile 11 without my inhaler (brilliant, I know) but I remembered what I learned in yoga and managed to finish the race. If you need suggestions on classes, let me know.

    • thebassoflife permalink*
      March 7, 2012 1:30 pm

      Hmmm… I may have to look into the yoga thing!

      • Shannon permalink
        March 8, 2012 10:21 am

        Do it! And if you need a race buddy, let me know which races you’re running… it would be nice to have something to train for again.

        And PS, if you need a weight-lifting guide (which I recommend for anyone trying to get their body into something they like) try “The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Men” Brilliant.

      • thebassoflife permalink*
        March 8, 2012 4:55 pm

        Ooh, I’ll check that site out. Thanks!

  6. March 7, 2012 1:16 pm

    I’ll be honest, I don’t stretch much BEFORE I run. Maybe my calves and my quads if I feel they need it, but that’s it. I spend way more time stretching AFTER I run, and then I do a full body stretch regime, with a lot of my focus on my legs. If you know any yoga stretches, they help tremendously in my opinion. Also – check into a foam roller for some of those hard to get muscles. Just my two cents! 🙂

    • thebassoflife permalink*
      March 7, 2012 1:31 pm

      Yeah, I’m guessing it’s the after-the-run-stretching I need to look into. Thanks for sharing!

  7. kates254 permalink
    March 7, 2012 1:56 pm

    One summer of physical therapy for a knee injury introduced me to the amazingness that is the foam roller. 4 years later, I haven’t had any other muscle/tendon/ligament injuries (knock on wood) and I completely swear by this piece of equipment.

    This site has a good drill down of how to use the roller: http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=9911

    Good luck!

  8. March 10, 2012 8:58 pm

    when i was running in college i found that i never needed to stretch before i ran, but once i hit about 50% of my run, i found my calves needed a good stretch. so i started stretching after the first half, and then stretched about 15 minutes after my run. i maybe running 4 miles just for reference. make sure your stretches are long and slow, and not quick bouncy movements.

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